AAL Book Reports: Restoration London, Liza Picard; By Permission of Heaven, Adrian Tinniswood

My book reports for Midnight Never Come proved useful to me in the longer run, so you’ll have to put up with them again, I’m afraid. I won’t motivate myself to write them if I can’t pretend they don’t have an audience.

Restoration London, by Liza Picard

What can I say? It’s Liza Picard. Who is awesome. She does a great job of presenting the details of lived experience in historical London, and her commitment to primary sources is great. I also love that she considers things like home decoration and female health just as interesting (or moreso) than the usual topics of history. I don’t think she positions herself actively as a feminist scholar, but her attention to otherwise neglected areas like that would certainly get a thumbs-up from that perspective.

By Permission of Heaven, by Adrian Tinniswood

This was the second book I read for AAL only because I had to wait for it to be shipped to me; I already had Restoration London on the shelf. It was recommended to me by Tyler of Pandemonium Books in Cambridge, and it’s a godsend: a detailed account of the Great Fire, including a chapter devoted to each day, telling me what was burning when, and what people were trying to do about it. I could not possibly write my novel without it.

But he also goes further afield, starting with a bit of the context leading up to the fire and the efforts to deal with it afterward; the latter plays better than the former. I understand why he felt we needed information about the Dutch wars, given religious tensions and also the question of when to recall General Monck, but it felt less than entirely relevant. The after-the-fact material is probably less useful to me, mind you, since I don’t expect the book to go past 1666, but it’s still good to know, especially for future installments in the series. (It’s honestly fascinating, comparing the aftermath of the Great Fire to, say, Hurricane Katrina. Seventeenth-century Englishmen did a remarkably good job of putting their city back together again in a fair and even-handed fashion.)

I’ve got a book on the Great Plague to read next, and a bunch more on the way.

0 Responses to “AAL Book Reports: Restoration London, Liza Picard; By Permission of Heaven, Adrian Tinniswood”

  1. sapphohestia

    When do you read Pepys?

  2. faerie_writer

    I like this research book report idea. I might copy it on my blog with my Renaissance research books. 🙂

  3. sartorias

    An astonishingly good book on Elizabethan symbolism is Frances Yates’ ASTRAEA. (I was just looking at my shelves.)

  4. Anonymous

    My question is how do I keep iTunes from changing or eliminating my playlists? All my winter holiday albums got dumped into their playlist of classical and “Christmas” disappeared. They also added “Sarah and Friends” my vocal classical favorite albums to the their classical and eliminated my playlist.

    I create playlists for a reason. iTunes has no business messing with them.

  5. Anonymous

    We see other people receive them, but yeah — no idea what they say.

    My bet is that the Encyclopedia will happen. We’ll see, though.

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